As a theologian and a veterinarian, Lisa Fullam of Santa Clara University has some questions for Pope Francis regarding his recent admonition of people who replace children with pets, saying there is "a form of selfishness" in couples deciding to have just one child and that this "is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity."
"Oh, for heaven's sake," Fullam writes. "The pope did get one thing right: parenthood can provide 'something fundamental, something important' in people's lives. (I say this as a non-parent.) Like marriage, parenthood can be a school of virtue."
"Perhaps the pope would do better to go visit an animal shelter, and ask himself whether he's ready to take on the responsibility of a puppy or a kitten — especially since he's ruled out taking on responsibility for a partner or children," Fullam adds.
NCR contributor Flora x. Tang says Francis' view that couples who choose not to have children are selfish shows the church's failure to acknowledge life-giving vocations of people who serve in ways other than childbirth or adoption.
NCR's main story on the day of the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol was not explicitly about the events of Jan. 6, 2021, although there is a connection, points out NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf. It was a report from staff reporter Brian Fraga about how right-wing Catholic organizations have received millions of dollars from a "dark money" fund called Donors Trust.
"This type of investigative report is just the latest in what has become regular fare on our pages: the attempt to bring some light to the connections among conservative Catholic individuals and organizations, and the sources of their often-extravagant funding," Schlumpf writes.
And given the continuing assaults on our democratic institutions, Schlumpf explains why NCR will continue to follow the money.
Read NCR staff writer Brian Fraga's report about how right-wing Catholic causes have received millions from a dark money group that also funded some Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol rioters.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters explores the ways conservative Catholic groups work to undermine democracy and drown Catholicism in the culture wars.
In a world of excess, it's common to receive gifts that don't quite suit us. But despite the purgative convenience for consumers, returns — whether in-person or online — bear startling environmental costs. Read more at EarthBeat.
Disney's new animated movie, "Encanto," with its complicated family dynamics, provides deep insight into the spiritual nature of human beings and our yearning to encounter God. If you are interested in books, movies, television, music, pop culture and more, sign up for NCR Culture Weekly with NCR opinion/culture editor Olga Segura.
ICYMI: Synodality, where the church hierarchy listens to those in the pews, may seem like a new concept — but only because the Catholic Church has drifted away from this ancient tradition, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry professor Rafael Luciani said during a recent webinar hosted by the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.